Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran TD reveals bid to take his own life

Member of Independent Alliance speaks out about his problems with literacy, dyslexia

Independent TD Kevin “Boxer” Moran pictured outside Government Buildings. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Independent TD Kevin “Boxer” Moran pictured outside Government Buildings. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

 

A Government TD has spoken publicly for the first time about an attempt to take his own life and his problems with literacy and dyslexia.

Kevin “Boxer” Moran, TD for Longford and Westmeath and member of the Independent Alliance, spoke on Friday about his mental health difficulties in the past, which included shame about his undiagnosed dyslexia in school, leaving school at 13, and the effects of the loss of his younger brother, who died in a motorcycle accident.

I was in a couple of crashes and the problems started to really erupt inside me, these panic attacks

He said his wife believes he never got over his brother’s death.

“I was in business and self-employed and I had a lot of problems. I started to develop panic attacks...and was afraid to say it to anybody, to talk to anybody...I was just married. I had a mortgage. I was in a couple of crashes and the problems started to really erupt inside me, these panic attacks.”

Almost died

Speaking on The Late Late Show, he described the afternoon he almost died.

Kevin “Boxer” Moran with Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the banks of the River Shannon in Athlone, Co Westmeath, discussing the adjacent sandbag wall keeping the river from flooding local houses, December 31st, 2015. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
Kevin “Boxer” Moran with Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the banks of the River Shannon in Athlone, Co Westmeath, discussing the adjacent sandbag wall keeping the river from flooding local houses, December 31st, 2015. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

“It was on a Sunday afternoon and we were out a clay-pigeon shoot. And this particular Sunday we were coming home and I left the lads off at the pub and I headed for home, as I normally would, I’d go left for my own house, but this day I went right...The pressure was so severe up inside me that I had a loaded gun and I was there, and all sorts of thoughts going through my head. Then it was a blackout.”

He said he had a shotgun and pointed it at his face.

I was crying and then she started crying and she asked me what was wrong and she rang the doctor

“I did pull the trigger and whatever, my brother above, whoever, I pushed away the gun.” He said the shot was discharged and the roof of the van was shattered.

“I went home. I was in bits for a long, long time. My wife, Michelle, she knew something was wrong. I was crying and then she started crying and she asked me what was wrong and she rang the doctor.”

Family and friends

He said his family and two great friends got him “through an awful lot of the pain and the anxiety”.

In the aftermath of a suicide, he said, people look for signs they might have missed.

“I say to people, reach out, they’re your best friend. If you see something, talk to them. Don’t be afraid...I want to inspire everybody who has gone through difficulties in life, just as I, to go forward, get your goal out there.

Kevin “Boxer” Moran (second left) with other members of the Independent Alliance (from left) - Minister of State for the OPW Sean Canney, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross and Minister of State for Training and Skills John Halligan, at a press conference in April 2017 to highlight one year as members of the Government. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
Kevin “Boxer” Moran (second left) with other members of the Independent Alliance (from left) - Minister of State for the OPW Sean Canney, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross and Minister of State for Training and Skills John Halligan, at a press conference in April 2017 to highlight one year as members of the Government. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

“If you have difficulties don’t shut them away, and speak your mind. It’s very important.”

Earlier, he spoke about his literacy problems and how he left school at 13 because he was “extremely bad with dyslexia”.

To hide his difficulties in national school, he said he would “create problems in the class to be put outside the door”.

Extremely hard

He found secondary school extremely hard, he said. He left and got work in the building trade.

He decided to speak about his literacy problems, he said, after hearing a journalist speak about him on the radio. He said he had “heard rumblings on and off” in Leinster House about his education before.

“One evening I was coming home in the car and I heard [on the radio] people were condemning this Government, saying, ‘It’s not working’. One particular person turned around and he says: ‘I can tell you, to sum up this Dáil, we have an incoming Minister who doesn’t have a Group Cert’.

“That affected me , because there are hundreds of people out there who don’t have it...I was very annoyed because I know so many people who suffer just like me and some people are afraid to come out. I was I very annoyed and vexed...I was embarrassed and I was hurt.”

He said his colleagues in the Independent Alliance had been very supportive.

Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran is a TD for Longford and Westmeath and a member of the Independent Alliance.

* For support contact the Samaritans on freephone 116123, or email jo@samaritans.org